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MIC Cello Alumni Win CSO Seats

Congratulations to cello alumni Karen Basrak and Daniel Katz, former students of MIC faculty Gilda Barston, who were accepted as permanent members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this October.


Karen Basrak joined the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra as associate principal cellist in 2001, served as acting principal cellist from 2002-05, and has been principal cellist since 2005. She has extensive orchestral experience, including being guest principal cello of the San Diego Symphony. A native of the Chicago suburbs, she began her studies with Adele O'Dwyer, Gilda Barston and Richard Hirschl. She received her Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the University of Southern California (USC), where she studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld. While studying at USC she received numerous awards, most notably the Gregor Piatigorsky Award.

Daniel Katz received his Bachelor of Music from Northern Illinois University and his Masters with Distinction in Performance and Academic Honors from New England Conservatory of Music. He has also studied at Rice University. Mr. Katz has been a regular substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, and was previously a member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. He is also an experienced chamber musician, having given performances at The Tanglewood Music Center, Sarasota Music Festival, Verbier Festival, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Daniel also has had training in teaching the Suzuki method, and has enjoyed teaching students of a wide variety of ages and levels.

Teacher Spotlight on Maria Schwartz, flute
Teacher Spotlight: Maria Schwartz, Suzuki flute

"I encourage them [my students] in any way I can think of to experiment with their sound and connect with their flute and practice time."